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a different kind of summer

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Shouyou had always enjoyed summer. It wasn’t unusual, though, because most kids loved summer. It was their free pass out of school for a few fleeting weeks, time to hang out with friends and play to their heart’s content. Shouyou could practice volleyball with his friends, in exchange for practicing soccer and basketball with them, so it was always fun.

And then high school happened.

Classes were harder than ever and he felt like his teachers had been beating his brain with their textbooks, and volleyball for the first time was more challenging, perhaps because of the way he’d been constantly improving. Shouyou had grown more as a player in just a few short months in high school than he had in his entire middle school career, and there was only room to go up. Summer break came at a time when he wanted nothing more than to keep playing volleyball, but knew he needed to take at least half a step back to breathe and rest.

It wasn’t like practice stopped for the summer, anyway. It’s just that he would get to focus on volleyball without the looming threat of bad grades if he did poorly on his homework, which was infinitely better. And since summer also included a week long training camp, he’d still be able to play and improve even more on top of regular classes, so the bonuses were endless.

High school made summer break different in many ways...but so did Kageyama.

Shouyou stared at Kageyama’s ceiling, sprawled out on the floor with his literature textbook forgotten across his chest. It was hot, and the heat dragged his limbs down and made him sluggish. Shouyou wondered how Kageyama could even try to focus in this weather when his brain felt like mush. But as he listened to Kageyama grumbling over the reading assignment, scribbling out something on his paper before huffing as he crumpled it up and tossed it, he realized that Kageyama was pretty much in the same boat.

They’d finished their math, at least.

“Hey, Kageyama,” he said into the silence, surprised at the rasp in his own voice.

“What?” his friend–friend, wow, when had that happened?–scowled down at him. “Why aren’t you reading?”

“The words look like they’re melting on the page,” Shouyou complained, pushing himself into a sitting position. His loose tank top slid down one shoulder and he ignored it in favor of pouting at Kageyama. “Let’s go get popsicles and take a break!”

“We’ll never finish the summer homework like that.” His brow furrowed, and Shouyou groaned.

“And I’ll never finish it when I can’t even read another word!” he whined. “C’mon, Kageyama, let’s just take an hour. We can get popsicles and watch TV or something and give our brains a break!”

Shouyou’s eyes followed the drop of sweat on Kageyama’s temple without his consent, as if in a trance, as it slid gracefully over the curve of his friend’s cheekbone and to the bottom of his jaw. He snapped his gaze back to Kageyama’s eyes the moment he realized it. The heat in his cheeks was just because it was hot, he told himself, and shifted so that he was sitting in front of Kageyama’s fan.

If he was so obvious, Kageyama might find out that Shouyou had a crush on him, and he wasn’t quite prepared for something like that. Not yet, anyway.

“An hour and that’s it,” Kageyama finally conceded, pulling Shouyou from his thoughts. Kageyama pushed himself laboriously to his feet, and it was obvious that he was struggling just as much with the heat as Shouyou. At Kageyama's acquiescence, Shouyou let out a cheer and scrambled up after him, his literature book tumbling to the floor. He nudged it to a safer place, so he wouldn’t step on it, and grinned. “I mean it, Hinata! Just an hour!”

“That’s fine!” Shouyou grinned, bouncing on the balls of his feet and raising his arms to stretch.

“You always say th–” Kageyama’s speech halted, and Shouyou finished his stretch. His back cracked and he grimaced as he lowered his arms.

“What’s wrong, Kageyama?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. Kageyama’s eyes were on him, an unreadable expression across his face, and Shouyou reached up to rub his nose a little self-consciously. “Is there something on my face?”

Kageyama reared back a little, shocked, and then scowled quickly. Shouyou knew enough to know that’s how he tried to hide when he was embarrassed about something, but he pushed the thought aside when Kageyama muttered, “Of course not, dumbass. Were we going to get ice cream or not?”

 

Summers in high school were different, Shouyou mused again as he and Kageyama practiced receives in the park, homework forgotten, but the summer during their third year was a lot different.

He’d had a long time to come to terms with his feelings for Kageyama. Shouyou had definitely started liking him near the middle of their first year, because even though Kageyama could be a bit of an ass he still had his moments. Shouyou probably had the strongest understanding of Kageyama and the way he thought and acted, even if sometimes he disagreed with it. And in the course of the years they spent together, playing volleyball together, he was able to ensure that his feelings stayed second only to volleyball.

But third year as a whole was different, not just the summer, because third year was when he started noticing that Kageyama was noticing him.

At first, Shouyou didn’t quite know what to make of it. He thought it was wishful thinking, and continued as usual. Somewhere along the line, though, the jovial pats on the back for good blocks or spikes or receives started to last longer, and the few occasions where Kageyama smacked him in the back of the head turned into Kageyama’s fingers lingering a few moments too long in Shouyou’s messy hair.

So when Kageyama avoided eye contact and slotted his fingers between Shouyou’s as they walked towards Kageyama’s house on the last day before summer break, Shouyou let it happen. His hand was sweaty and way too warm, but Shouyou’s heart beat a frantic rhythm in his chest and he tentatively squeezed back. They walked all the way to Kageyama’s house, hand in hand, and even though it took him three hours to actually talk about it, about why, and about feelings, Shouyou couldn’t bring himself to mind too much.

When Shouyou told him, with no uncertainty at all, that he’d been in love with Kageyama for at least a year and a half, by then, the setter turned bright red and stuttered out a few insults.

“It’s not nice to call your boyfriend a dumbass, Kageyama!” Shouyou found himself teasing easily, just for the pleasure of watching Kageyama turn an even darker red and try to force his pout into something more like a scowl.

He didn’t expect Kageyama to get him back, though.

“It’s fine when he’s being a dumbass! Isn’t it, Shouyou?”

His face burned, and a satisfied smirk flitted across Kageyama’s still-scarlet face. Their fingers only twisted more tightly together, and Shouyou groaned and pressed his face against Kageyama’s shoulder with a halfhearted, “Oh, shut up, Bakageyama.”

“Now who’s being mean?” he scoffed, but there was no malice in his tone.

“Still you, To-bi-o,” Shouyou used a sing-song tone, but still loved the way Kageyama’s breath hitched.

We’re even, now, he thought triumphantly.

“Shut up,” Kageyama groused, but his arms wound around Shouyou and he rested his chin atop a head of messy hair.

 

Summers were different, now, but that didn’t make them any less fun.